NEXT SATURDAY: White Center Halloween Carnival

October 19th, 2019 at 11:47 pm Posted in Fun, Parks, White Center news | No Comments »

Next Saturday! Here’s the announcement:

The annual King County Parks Family Halloween Carnival is coming up on Saturday, October 26th from 2-5 pm at the White Center Community Center, in Steve Cox Memorial Park (1321 SW 102nd 98146.)

Doors open at 2 pm and general admission is FREE.

Local teens have planned nearly 30 different spooky town-themed crafts and games for local children ages 10 and under. Brave the tunnels of the Underground Obstacle Course, mail yourself a letter from the Spooky Town Post Office, get a little messy at the Slime Factory, show off your artistic skills at a craft table, march thru town in the costume parade at 3:30pm, catch the Magic show at 3:45pm, and win some not so valuable prizes at some of the Spooky Town game booths.

Tickets for each activity are sold for .25 each or 4/$1.00.

In addition to the games, the carnival will also feature a free juggling performance at 3:45 p.m.

This year’s carnival is once again sponsored by the Teens and Staff of the White Center Teen Program. The WCTP offers free recreational, educational and social enrichment programming to over 1400 culturally diverse participants ages 12-19 each year. The program operates five days a week, forty-eight weeks a year and provides structured recreational classes and programs, homework assistance, educational and computer resources, leadership training, volunteer opportunities, special events, field trips, and drop-in activities.

The Annual Halloween Carnival is traditionally one of the teens’ favorite volunteer events. Program staff estimate at least 50 teens will volunteer at the event.

For additional Information, please contact Vana Danh at 206.477.2105.

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CAMP SECOND CHANCE: City of Seattle announces November meeting

October 18th, 2019 at 1:59 pm Posted in Myers Way, White Center news | No Comments »

The City of Seattle’s long-promised meeting about the future of Camp Second Chance has finally been announced: 6:30 pm Thursday, November 21st, at the Joint Training Facility (9401 Myers Way S.), north of the encampment. CSC is now in its fourth year on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels. In September, shortly after announcing another six-month extension for its permit to be there, the city said that if they don’t reach an agreement with a potential “faith-based sponsor,” they’ll start planning to dismantle the camp. As of last month, 55 people were living at CSC.

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SATURDAY: Be part of Duwamish Alive!

October 18th, 2019 at 1:00 am Posted in How to Help, White Center news | No Comments »

Saturday is the twice-yearly Duwamish Alive! multi-site work party focused on the health of our area’s only river and its watershed. And one of this year’s sites is in White Center! You are invited to volunteer at White Center Heights Park – contact Lina Rose at lina.rose@kingcounty.gov or call 206-477-6101. 10 am-1 pm is the main window for volunteers. See the full list of areas here.

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Affordable-housing, renter-protection proposals advancing in King County Council

October 15th, 2019 at 2:51 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | 5 Comments »

News release from the King County Council:

A major renter protection and affordable housing package moved forward on Tuesday when a King County Council committee passed the first of four pieces of legislation.

“This package of legislation is a major step in the right direction to protect the most disenfranchised residents in King County,” said King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, who championed the package. “If this legislation is approved, King County can be a model throughout the country on protecting renters, enhancing affordable housing, and mitigating the impacts of gentrification on longtime residents and those in need of affordable housing.”

Brought forward by Gossett and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Joe McDermott, the first legislation – passed by the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee – will take aim at creating a strategy to develop and retain affordable housing in Skyway and White Center.

The program, to be developed by the executive’s office and then implemented by council, would create community land trusts in communities with the highest minority populations in King County. It would include mandatory or voluntary inclusionary zoning, maintaining affordability for people living at up to 50% of area median income in White Center and Skyway. In addition, it would give preference to local community members displaced by increasing rents the first option to move back into those communities.

Tuesday’s passage marks the first step toward implementing a major renter protection package. Gossett and Kohl-Welles have backed three more pieces of legislation that will work together to increase protections for renters across King County and build up new programs to reduce displacement in at-risk communities.

The measures include:

*Formation of a King County Renters’ Commission to advise officials on renter issues and possible measures to improve housing access and affordability.

*Revision of King County code to clarify when and how landlords can legally evict tenants through addition of just cause eviction definitions.

Creation of a pilot program to help low-income renters when they are displaced by rent hikes in Skyway and White Center. The program would be a five-year pilot that would help tenants displaced by rising rents relocate back to their community through rental assistance and increased protections for existing renters.
“On paper, our economy is thriving,” Kohl-Welles said. “But in reality, too many of our neighbors are struggling to get by and are being priced out of their homes. This suite of legislation will help increase affordability for and access to stable housing as well as increased representation for renters. Most important, it will help renters feel a sense of stability knowing they can’t be evicted without just cause.”

Tuesday’s approved motion will go before the full council at its Oct. 24 meeting, while the other three measures will undergo further discussion in the council’s Health, Housing and Human Services Committee.

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UPDATE: Shooting in Top Hat; victim found in North Burien

October 11th, 2019 at 7:00 pm Posted in Burien, Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, Top Hat, White Center news | 1 Comment »

7:06 PM: Got a few questions about helicopters just south of White Center. The King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting in North Burien, 2nd SW and SW 120th [map]. KCSO says a 27-year-old man was “shot in the face” and was taken to Harborview in serious condition. No other info yet.

11:35 PM: Update from KCSO: “Deputies were able to determine actual shooting took place in the Top Hat area of unincorporated King County and the victim fled to a house in Burien. This entire incident was over a vehicle. The suspect is still outstanding.”

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No school today

October 11th, 2019 at 10:27 am Posted in Highline School District, White Center news | No Comments »

It’s a statewide in-service day for teachers so Highline Public Schools have no classes today (Friday, October 11th).

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Housing, zoning, crime, safety, more @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

October 9th, 2019 at 7:37 pm Posted in North Highline UAC, White Center news | 5 Comments »

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht

Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for White Center Now

Issues related to housing, zoning, crime, and safety took center stage Thursday night at the October meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council (NHUAC) at the North Highline Fire Station, featuring a visit from King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht (who last appeared at NHUAC just over a year ago).

There was a good crowd at the meeting despite its overlap with the Seahawks game — in fact, while Johanknecht was speaking, a chorus of fireworks could be heard from around the neighborhood after the Seahawks’ victory, prompting chuckles and comments like “aren’t fireworks illegal?” from around the room.

Toplines from the meeting are below, including links to two surveys (one that closes October 13) for the public to share feedback:

NORTH HIGHLINE SUBAREA PLAN (website here): First on the agenda was David Goodman (pictured below), subarea planner from King County Department of Local Services, to give an update on the one-year North Highline Subarea planning process that began in July. Goodman said the planning is part of an effort to initiate new subarea plans across the county for various service areas such as North Highline. Plans include detailed assessments of the area’s land use, demographics, population and development. Goodman said the existing plans are very dated and haven’t changed in 25 years, and even those most recent changes from 1994 were limited to areas west of Highway 509 (east of 509, the plans are even older).

Goodman walked attendees though the area’s zoning map (digital version here) and explained that most of the area’s land (56.7%) was designated as “R-6-Residential” which means up to 6 dwelling units per acre. He noted that as part of the planning process, residents can “help decide what we want the community to look like in the future.”

NHUAC President Liz Giba and others in attendance asked about the White Center Community HUB project being planned at the former Public Health Center site at 8th Avenue SW & SW 108th Street (which could break ground in 2022 if things go according to plan), as well as the upcoming 2021 expansion of the RapidRide H Line (which will replace the extremely busy Metro Route 120). Goodman, along with other officials in attendance, answered audience questions about those initiatives and confirmed their importance as part of the overall vision and planning for the area.

Goodman said the planning process runs through next May and that his team plans to be back at NHUAC at least once more during that timeframe. In the meantime, he encouraged attendees to visit the project website and fill out their survey (click the “Take Our Survey” button) to share feedback. (Note: We had posted about this survey a couple of weeks ago as well.)

An audience member asked about ADU (accessory dwelling units) or “mother-in-law” dwellings. Goodman and other officials in attendance said that these are units which are 1000 square feet or smaller, not officially part of property it’s adjacent to, and without its own address. ADUs must be registered with the county.

WHITE CENTER MICROHOUSING DEMONSTRATION PROJECT: Next up was Mark Ellerbrook (pictured below), division director for King County Housing & Community Development, to give an update on plans for a WC-based Alternative Housing Demonstration Project (website here) that is currently in “public comment” period until October 13. Ellerbrook encouraged neighbors to give their feedback on the project by visiting its website.

The White Center project is one of two proposed sites in the area (the other is in Vashon Island) aimed at providing affordable housing options.  Per their website, “the county started by asking: ‘What innovative housing types could create more affordable housing, but aren’t allowed under existing regulations?'” Ellerbrook said the projects aim to tackle two key issues:

  1. Housing crisis and availability of places to live. “Our estimate is that in the next 21 years we will need 240,000 additional units of affordable housing to meet demand and growth,” Ellerbrook said, adding that the median cost in King County is $1800/mo, and in order for citizens to be successful “we need housing of all types; what people want is evolving. A single-family home with a yard isn’t necessarily what everyone wants.”
  2. Displacement and gentrification. Ellerbrook said he’s heard repeatedly from the White Center Chamber of Commerce and local businesses who say that they have employees who work in White Center and would love to live here but can’t afford it —  rental costs in WC are $2200/mo and have increased a lot in last few years, Ellerbrook said.

Ellerbrook said the proposed developer for the WC project is Seattle-based Neimen Taber, which has developed similar projects like The Roost, and the proposed location would be somewhere in the urban center at 102nd/16th. If approved, the decision regarding where to develop the property would happen in mid-2020. Ellerbrook stressed that “this is not a subsidized housing project; it’s looking for a way to create lower cost housing in a way that doesn’t need to be subsidized.” Ellerbrook said the goal is to have the target cost be $650-$1000/mo for residents. “For someone making minimum wage, $650 would be one-third of their income,” he said.

Questions from the audience:

  • “Will residents of this property pay taxes?” Ellerbrook said yes, absolutely. Follow-up question: would residents pay impact fees (one-time fees connected to school-building costs)? Ellerbrook wasn’t sure, but said it may be unlikely that families with children would live there, based on trends seen in the similar Roost development.
  • “What about parking?”  Ellerbrook said that’s being discussed; for a development like this, is parking required for every unit? There are many transit options available in the proposed development area.
  • “Is there actually land available in the proposed area?” Ellerbrook said the developer would be looking for available property there. It would require a 5000-6000 square-foot lot (smaller than a block).
  • “How does this relate to the signs I’ve seen over by Greenbridge about a new high-rise?” Ellerbrook and other officials in attendance said that those would be managed by King County Housing Authority (a different entity) similar to low-incoming housing options at Seola Gardens and Greenbridge. NHUAC president Liz Giba said that a representative from KCHA would be be attending NHUAC’s next meeting.
  • “Don’t we want diversity in the types of housing we have, which means we want higher-priced homes as well, not just lower-priced?” Another attendee noted that people in Central District were priced out and have been moving to WC where affordable housing is — is that a desirable trend? Ellerbrook and others noted that housing prices in WC have more than doubled in 5 years ($200K to $440K), and that Seattle has been a national leader in striking that balance, with property tax levies to fund affordable housing going back 30 years. Follow-up comment: It seems that residents are keeping their single-family homes and seeing them go up significantly in price, but then as “megaprojects” for low income is completed, the balance is thrown off and “we’re going downhill; a healthy community needs all types of housing.” Ellerbrook again stressed that this latest WC project is for market rate housing (not subsidized housing).
  • “We keep hearing that this project is for our community, but for other recent projects we asked if we can prioritize them for local residents, but were told we can’t.” Ellerbrook: We can’t legally restrict any housing unit for a particular neighborhood, because of fair housing.  What we can (and will) do is “affirmative marketing” to work with local business owners to market this new building to people who live in the community.

COMMENTS FROM THE SHERIFF: Next on the agenda was a special guest, King C0unty Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. “Sheriff Mitzi” has been with KCSO since 1985, served as commander of Precinct 4 and was the first woman to lead the county’s SWAT team, and was elected sheriff in 2017.

Johanknecht began with some big news that made national headlines: an arrest made as part of a 27-year-old cold case (King5 story). Back in 1991, 16-year-old Sarah Yarborough was found dead at Federal Way High School, but her murderer was never found. Johanknecht said years of hard work (using exhaustive forensics and DNA evidence) led to last week’s arrest of a suspect. She said that she has a goal of creating a dedicated “cold case unit” (the county doesn’t currently have one; investigators dedicate time when they can) to help with the approximately 300 cold cases that the county has.

On a less positive note, Johanknecht made note of the recent wave of fentanyl-related deaths, primarily from counterfeit prescriptions. She said her office is doing what it can with regard to outreach and education, but the concern is real. “If you’re ordering something on the internet and it doesn’t come from a pharmacy, it’s risky,” she said. Johanknecht encouraged community members to watch for troubling changes in life patterns for friends, family and acquaintances, and offer peer support whenever possible.  An attendee noted that in the past, drug-related issues associated with people living in the wooded area near Myers Way had largely involved meth, but in recent years the trend had been more about opioids.

A question from president Liz Giba: How do you ask for more cops, to serve a larger population that needs it? (She referenced a housing development at Top Hat, and said when they applied for permits they expected 620 residents, but as it turns out there are 800 residents.) Johanknecht said this is definitely a priority, citing a staffing study her office is working on that shows what policing in King County (which has a wide range from rural to urban) should look like, to help inform staffing and budgets. She said that she was asked to make budget cuts when she first took office, but she pushed back on that and actually added resources (such as gang and violent crime violent crime specialists, many working in the south end). She said she is slowly building the department to meet capacity, and hopes the staffing study helps with that. Johanknecht cited strong support from several King County Councilmembers, and looks forward to continue working closely with them.

“Our job is to team up and talk to the people who build budgets and legislate them,” Johanknecht said, “and we’re happy to have your support in that process.” She said 60% of her budget is “revenue-backed,” so the support they’re typically looking for is only about 40%.  Question from the audience: When you do reports about staffing, do you look at the number of officers you have compared to the population in the area they serve? Answer from Johanknecht: That’s easy to do in a city, with blocks that tend to have high population density, but much harder in more remote areas of the county (near Snoqualmie Pass, or in rural areas with 2-lane roads). She cited successes her department has had with using data from computer-aided dispatch that is entered into private vendor databases, and are able to use that data along with “anecdotal stuff” to help with the budget and resourcing processes.

A particularly serious set of questions from the audience: What about the impact of drug cartels and drugs coming into our area from “gang members who may be illegal immigrants,” “why don’t you enforce the laws,” and “why did you take down ICE-related links from your websites?” (KIRO story here)  The questioner also mentioned a family friend who was “murdered by an illegal immigrant.” Johanknecht offered sincere condolences, but explained that King County does have an ordinance that prohibits officers from asking about immigration status, and “I have rules that I have to follow.” However, she noted that “we arrest people all the time” who commit crimes and “we usually don’t need that immigration information” to make those cases. With regard to the links that her office removed from their websites, Johanknecht explained that those were associated with the LinX national database, and that she made the decision to temporarily remove LinX access because after a series of issues that occurred she was concerned that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) personnel could use information in the database to deport undocumented immigrants, which she said was a clear violation of county ordinances. However, she noted that the system access was restored just four days later, not because of publish backlash but because an active investigation needed to happen to ensure that the info-sharing was being done properly. She also noted that in addition to individuals who were critical of her decision to take down there links, there were also individuals who were “waiting to come after me for keeping the links up,” and people “paying both sides of the aisle,” but stressed that “those were decisions we had to make.”

Other audience members commented about cars in the area that are stolen and “dumped:” If cars get stolen in unincorporated King County, rather than in a city like Burien, the criminals know that the jurisdictions are different and they just dump cars in other areas to avoid getting caught or drawing attention to themselves. Johanknecht said that her department “knows about the common places,” where stolen cars tend to be abandoned, and said that state and national databases definitely exist to help officers determine if particular vehicles have been stolen.

Another question: What are the best ways to find out about crimes in the area, and report them? Johanknecht mentioned crimereports.com as a good resource but said the system has been offline while a data-migration process happens, but she will notify the public as soon as that process is done.  For reporting crimes, she said that as a former communication center commander, she always tells people to “call 911 and report it, even if it’s just a shady-looking guy on the street” and the dispatchers will do their job. She said every 911 call generates a tracking number, then as it moves through the process there may be other numbers involved (like case numbers), but at any rate the number of calls helps her department with metrics and data and resourcing, so people shouldn’t hesitate to call. Another audience member expressed skepticism that criminals actually face consequences, asking the sheriff “how long does someone’s rap sheet have to be before you arrest them?” Johanknecht said the question was “largely rhetorical” but stressed that “I tell my people to go after bad guys and take them to jail,” although she acknowledged that only 10% of cases nationwide tend to actually go to trial, but her department will do what it can to help. She added that she recently went to Washington D.C. to meet with officials about their CAD-X system for computer-aided dispatch, and she has asked a WA state delegation to support adopting such a system to alleviate concerns about who to call and when. She also reminded attendees that 911 callers can report anonymously, or can report it by name but say that they don’t want to be contacted.

WHITE CENTER CRIME INFO: To conclude the meeting, White Center Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer (pictured below) provided a quick update on crime statistics and cases in the area. He said that year-over-year, violent crimes are down but property crimes are up. He noted that they just shut down an illegal marijuana shop near Hung Long Asian Market, prompting audience members to ask about how law enforcement can more actively crack down on places like this. Kennamer said it can be difficult, noting cases like the August raid of Todd’s Trading Post in White Center, and said that prior to that raid “we just couldn’t get in there.”

An audience member mentioned that a pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle on 108th, and Kennamer acknowledged that the person was “hit hard” in that case. On the subject of calling law enforcement for help with reporting a crime, Kennamer suggested being aware of where you are — if you know that you’re in unincorporated King County when you call, say “I need the county sheriff’s department,” but if you’re in Seattle then say “I need the Seattle police department,” but the important thing is to just call and not worry about it. Regarding graffiti in the area, Kennamer noted that there’s no ordinance against it, but that many residents have taken it upon themselves to clean it up. Regarding trouble spots in the area, Kennamer said the building on 110th/1st “with crappy trailers sitting around” was recently sold, and will become a “manufacturing plant for circuit boards on one floor, and an African restaurant on the other.” He also noted that a prior problem area with old abandoned cars at 108th/1st has been greatly improved. An audience member asked if law officers can help with issues involving boxes near houses that are in disrepair, and Kennamer said that “if it’s on the right-of-way, we can deal with it.”

Jerry Pionk from King County Local Services (along with colleague and community liaison Bong Sto. Domingo) put in a plug encouraging residents to contact asklocalservices@kingcounty.gov with questions or concerns, and to connect with the organization on social media.

NHUAC meets first Thursdays most months; watch nhuac.org for updates.

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UPDATE: 2-alarm fire in White Center ruled arson

October 6th, 2019 at 3:24 pm Posted in Fire, White Center news | 9 Comments »

(Reader photo)

3:24 PM: Thanks to Aaron for the tip. The big fire callout is for a commercial property on the west side of downtown White Center, 17th/98th.

3:58 PM: Reader photo added atop the story. The fire has gone to 2 alarms.

(WCN photos from here down)

5:26 PM: Talked with firefighters at the scene. The building is 9811 17th SW, the old Atlas Electric building, just south of the dental building; records show it was sold earlier this year. Nobody in the building when the fire started; nobody injured. The cause remains under investigation. Firefighters expect to be on scene for a w more hours.

6:50 PM: More photos:

ADDED MONDAY: The King County Sheriff’s Office tells us this fire has been ruled arson. If you have any information, call the Arson Tip Line – 800-55-ARSON.

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SUNDAY: Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee

October 5th, 2019 at 11:56 pm Posted in Myers Way, White Center news | No Comments »

One month ago, the City of Seattle announced another extension of the permit for tiny-house encampment Camp Second Chance on Myers Way. Sunday, the Community Advisory Committee meets, and you’re welcome to bring questions/comments/concerns. The meeting is at 2 pm at the community room on the east side of Arrowhead Gardens (9200 2nd SW).

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Fall colors in White Center

October 4th, 2019 at 10:42 pm Posted in Weather, White Center news | 1 Comment »

The new season’s finally showing its colors in White Center. Thanks to Gill Loring for the photos!

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THURSDAY: Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht and more @ October’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

September 29th, 2019 at 12:35 pm Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news | 3 Comments »

(WCN photo from September 2018)

Got a crime/safety concern? Bring it to the Sheriff herself on Thursday (October 3rd) at the next meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council. Just announced:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting

When: Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station at 1243 SW 112th Street in White Center
(Parking and Entrance are in the Back of the Station)

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard!

Were you at last month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting? If so, you know that our community is struggling. Fear, anger, and frustration are felt by many. Deputy Bill Kennamer and Major Jesse Anderson of the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) spent much of the meeting listening to concerns and responding with information about what is being done by KCSO to try to deal with chronic issues found in our community.

This month, we will be joined by the woman who puts Sheriff in KCSO. It’s been a little over a year since Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht last joined us. Sheriff Mitzi has been with KCSO since 1985. Her history with KCSO includes being the first woman to command KCSO’s SWAT team and serving as the Commander of Precinct 4. She was elected in 2017. This will be a good opportunity to learn about her plans, challenges and goals. Do you have questions and thoughts you’d like to share with Sheriff Johanknecht? This is your chance!

The Comprehensive Plan is King County’s long-range policy for land use, regulations and regional services such as housing, transit, parks, trails and open space. After nearly two decades, King County has initiated a new subarea planning program for each of the county’s local service areas, including North Highline. This planning includes an assessment of the area’s land use goals, population changes, new development, and other demographic and socioeconomic indicators.

King County’s David Goodman and Mark Ellerbrook will share some of the plans King County has been working on for our community, including our Subarea Plan and a micro-housing project. This will be an opportunity to ask questions and make comments about the long-term, far-reaching plans, which are sure to mold our environment and future.

Once again. White Center Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer will update us with news and crime statistics from KCSO.

Then , the floor will be open for announcements.

Knowledge is power. Learn, share and help make our community a better place!

Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 7 pm

Bring a Friend!

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More on North Highline Subarea Plan: Three chances to talk with King County reps

September 23rd, 2019 at 3:18 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on More on North Highline Subarea Plan: Three chances to talk with King County reps

Related to the survey we reported on Sunday, part of the North Highline Subarea Plan process – three upcoming chances to talk with county reps:

Business Focus Group 1 – Daytime Session
An opportunity for the business community to share their thoughts about commercial areas
Wednesday, September 25
11 AM to 1 PM
Miss Sheryl’s Ballet (9650 16th Ave SW)

Open Office Hours
Drop in to discuss anything related to land use in North Highline with King County planning staff
Thursday, September 26
1 PM to 5 PM
Steve Cox Park – Parks and Recreation Office (1205 SW 102nd Street)

Business Focus Group 2 – Evening Session
An opportunity for the business community to share their thoughts about commercial areas
Thursday, September 26
6 PM to 8 PM
New Location: Noble Barton (9635 16th Ave SW)

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Have you taken the North Highline Subarea Plan survey?

September 22nd, 2019 at 8:55 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on Have you taken the North Highline Subarea Plan survey?

May not sound exciting, but if you want to help shape your neighborhood’s future, you should take a few minutes to answer this survey. It’s a relatively simple survey, asking your observations about your neighborhood rather than about planning specifics. The county website says it’ll be open through October, but why procrastinate!

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TONIGHT: Rat City Recon 2019

September 21st, 2019 at 4:03 pm Posted in Music, White Center news | Comments Off on TONIGHT: Rat City Recon 2019

At Southgate Roller Rink tonight, 6 pm-1:30 am, it’s this year’s Rat City Recon music festival! e=Eight bands are playing, including, from nearby West Seattleite, Brent Amaker and his new band DeathSquad (who provided the photo):

Read more about them here. Ticket info is here. RCR is a 21+ event.

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Celebration of Life planned Saturday for North Highline Fire Captain Eric Boutwell

September 19th, 2019 at 6:37 pm Posted in North Highline Fire District, Obituaries, White Center news | 1 Comment »

From the North Highline Fire District:

It is with profound sadness that the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, Burien Union Fire Fighters Local #1461, and King County Fire District #2 report the death of Captain Eric Boutwell in Walla Walla on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.

Celebration of Life
Saturday, September 21, 2019
11:00 a.m.
River of Life Fellowship
10615 SE 216th Street
Kent, WA 98031

Class A or B uniforms are appropriate. There will be no outside agency apparatus in the procession.

Brother Boutwell was a valued friend and colleague for all of us lucky enough to know and work with him. Eric joined the North Highline Fire District as a volunteer in 1992 and became a career firefighter at Station #18 in 1999 and touched many lives. He faithfully served the North Highline community for 26 years and, through a contractual consolidation in 2019, continued his dedicated service with King County Fire District #2. He is survived by his wife Krista, daughters Haley and Isabella; and many family and friends.

Local 1461 has established a memorial fund through the National Police & Fire Foundation to support Eric’s daughters’ education.

Link to Make Donations: www.HonoringEricBoutwell.com
Text To Give: Text the word “Honor” to 360-207-2170

Local #1461, the King County Fire District #2 Family, and the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters extend our heartfelt sympathies, even as we struggle to understand this tragedy. Please keep his family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Contact Shauna Sheppard for more information: 206-209-4129.

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FOLLOWUP: White Center scooter-sharing plan gets County Council committee OK

September 18th, 2019 at 12:02 am Posted in King County, Transportation, White Center news | Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: White Center scooter-sharing plan gets County Council committee OK

The e-scooter-sharing pilot project proposed for White Center, noted here last week, went before the King County Council’s Mobility and Environment Committee today. The minutes show it won unanimous approval from the six councilmembers present. Read the full proposal here. Next step: Full council vote.

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VIDEO: Updates and answers from King County reps at annual North Highline ‘Town Hall’ in White Center

September 17th, 2019 at 1:18 am Posted in King County, White Center news | 4 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

At last year’s King County “town hall” for North Highline, attendees heard about the then-impending Department of Local Services launch.

This year – the new department’s director John Taylor emceed the event, held last Thursday night at Seola Gardens.

We recorded it all – in two videos, first the presentation, then the Q&A:

Toplines:

King County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s opening remarks highlighted:

*Council’s $315 million investment in children
*”Regional entity” to be created for responding to homelessness crisis – he believes it needs a more regional response
*Disappointed in Senior Centers being left out in levy funding – Vashon, West Seattle (as reported on our partner site WSB), SeaTac, Burien – from levy; he’s talking about it with executive branch
*Banning fireworks, as he discussed at this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting – mentions deadly fire last 4th of July
*Transportation – electric scooters pilot project (to be considered by a council committee this week) is “a real opportunity”

Next to speak, Elections Director Julie Wise
*Believes 85 percent of eligible voters are registered
*Reminds you that you’ll get ballot three weeks before election
*Lots of elections next year – presidential primary in March, regular primary in August, general in November
*”I believe my job is to remove barriers” and enthuses about postage-paid mail ballots plus 68 dropboxes

Then Rich Watson from Assessor’s Office
*Starting in 2020 new threshold for seniors’ property tax exemption – ceiling raised from $40K to $58K (65% of county median income). Intent of program “to keep seniors in their homes”
*Property values are flat – 5% or less
*Taxpayer Transparency Tool – also will show you how a ballot initiative will affect your property values

King County Sheriff’s Office Major Jesse Anderson followed
*He’s been precinct commander for 1 1/2 months
*The K1 sector had 1872 calls in the most recently tallid quarter
*Part 1 crimes – more violent + burglaries – 75 to 100 a month this year, up a bit from last year
*Auto Theft spiked in spring but then dropped
*VUCSA (drugs) – made quite a few arrests in summer
*Gang-related fairly flat
*Robberies flat
*Commercial burglaries up in August, detectives working hard on that
*5 to 15 residential burglaries a month

Then back to Taylor, who quickly noted that Local Services puts out quarterly reports. Also, it has field-office days at the KCSO office in White Center – 10 am-3 pm Thursdays. Taylor said it’s “important to be out talking to people.”

He also noted that the second community forum on the Sub-Area Plan is set for 6-8 pm September 23rd at Seola Gardens.

Next, Robert Burns from DNRP
*They want to add green space in White Center and throughout the fall will work with community members regarding where that should be and how it’s used.

Josh Baldi with Water and Surface Water Management
*They inspect facilities like stormwater ponds, businesses (140 or so per quarter), public outreach/education …they’ve long been monitoring Hicklin Lake and are seeing grants to help with that.

Katie Terry, acting Parks director, talks about the just-passed levy
*improvements at Dick Thurnau Park
*Growing/connecting open space – researching “a couple of” White Center properties
*Improving mobility through local trails – like, extend Green River Trail to meet up with Duwamish River trail
*More accessible – like fixing drainage at Steve Cox Park

Jim Chen, permitting
*2,400+ permits in first half of year
*MyBuildingPermit.com – expand online options – up to 52% of permits are handled online – once single-family permits are online, probably up to 70 percent
*Code Enforcement is one of their services
*Planning – June of 2020 is when they plam to deliver North Highline Subarea Plan
*This will set the stage for what can be built over the next 10-15 years

Road Services director
*1500 miles of road, 182 bridges, about 200 line staff who maintain that area
*They don’t see all the details so they need your help reporting it (here’s how)
*Very busy in WC – investing $400,000 in sidewalks, also improved striping, signs

Terry White from Metro
*He grew up in this area
*”Everybody deserves to move” – we don’t want to be like LA where you can’t move

Mark Ellerbrook of Housing, Homelessness, and Community Development
*White Center is an example of how city/county need to work together – positive feedback for Mary’s Place shelter
*WC Hub project (8th/108th), future vision for that site – “has a fair ways to go” – office, services, housing all in one spot – WCCDA, SWYFS, CHH – Probably a year away from applying for funding, another year for permit, so construction probably 3 years away
*Looking at microhousing demonstration project – what would it look like – in WC – ordinance due to council in December

From there, it was Q&A time. Some of the highlights (watch the video for everything):

Q: What about the floating islands in Hicklin Lake?
Baldi: They are legendary, were successful, felt good about the project.

Q: Why site microhousing in WC?
Ellerbrook: Lots of interest around it – what the county is doing is setting up zoning that would allow it to occur; a private developer would develop it. A 50-unit project is proposed (he stresses again they’re pushing for comments – council will consider demonstration ordinance). One rural project is proposed (Vashon), one urban (WC).

Comment: 4th SW is one lane feeding into Olson/Myers, everyone gets stuck behind someone turning left
Roads: It’s a KCHA project but come talk to us so we can get it investigated,

Q: What’s the 8th/102nd construction near WC Heights Elementary?
Roads: Sidewalks at each corner by the roundabout but no continued sidewalk on 8th. They tried for a grant, haven’t been successful yet.

Comment: The report earlier in the week on kids needing more play time seems counter to the White Center Hub taking away greenspace.

Comment: Trash pickup in WC has gotten better. Taylor says he used to work in solid waste, so that’s a big issue for him.

There was more discussion of the proposed microhousing.

Q: What is county doing to support Duwamish Tribe and get them recognition?

McDermott: We don’t have a formal relationship but he’s been doing land recognition at the County Council – regarding the Longhouse safety concerns, he’s written letters in support of grants, and wrote recently to the mayor,

Q: How does Elections verify names?
Wise: They keep a file of signatures. Even hers has been challenged. They challenge about 2% every election.

A comment led to some discussion about tax-exempt property. It was pointed out that only about 3% of the area’s parcels fall into that category.

Councilmember McDermott closed out the meeting by mentioning a few more things in progress – an anti-displacement measure, a Renters Commission, and more. The Town Hall was summed up as a “fantastic conversation.”

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SATURDAY: First-ever Khmer Health Fair in White Center

September 16th, 2019 at 12:50 pm Posted in Health, White Center news | 2 Comments »

Happening Saturday (September 21), 8 am-1 pm:

The Khmer Health Board is hosting its first-ever, FREE health fair to address health disparities in the local Khmer community in the greater Seattle area. The health fair will incorporate free health screenings, wellness services, and resource/education promotion to engage understanding on how to support Khmer American health needs. The Khmer Health Board’s mission is to advocate for health equity in their Khmer community by addressing the institutional and systemic barriers that impact the health, safety and well-being of the community.

The goal of the health fair is to improve the Khmer Seattle communities’ access to much-needed health screening, health education or other preventative services related to oral health, diabetes, immunizations, housing services, and counseling/mental services among others. Historically, Khmer American refugees have overall worse health outcomes than any other non-refugee Asian immigrant. Even decades after resettlement, well-being suffers in comparison to other ethnic groups. The health fair would emphasize a holistic approach to health and well-being for the local Khmer community.

By recognizing the problems in this group will allow for those that provide service to expand on what on supports and resources that currently exist. Common health and wellbeing issues today include legacies of historical trauma that have resulted in PTSD and put the community at higher risk of Hepatitis B, liver cancer, heart disease, and isolation continue to affect both individuals and families. The health fair can refer individuals to appropriate existing resources and intentionally create long-term support.

Khmer Americans rank among the highest in poverty and lowest in educational attainment. Along the low English proficiency, cultural differences, and distrust in American healthcare, this contributes to the Khmer community facing barriers in accessing treatment or preventive care. The health fair is a way for the Khmer Health Board to address the health problems that their own community faces in a culturally relevant way.

The event will take place on Saturday, September 21, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM at White Center Community Center at Steve Cox Memorial Park. Contact Jennifer Huong at jhuong@uw.edu to learn more about the event or contribute as a sponsor.

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5 DAYS AWAY: White Center Community Development Association gala

September 15th, 2019 at 12:19 am Posted in How to Help, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | Comments Off on 5 DAYS AWAY: White Center Community Development Association gala

Spend next Friday night at the White Center Community Development Association‘s annual gala! From the WCCDA website:

“FORWARD TOGETHER”

Keynote Speaker:

This year, we are honored to have Senator Joe Nguyen speaking at our Gala. He was born in White Center, raised in Burien and currently lives in West Seattle. His experiences growing up in an immigrant community as the son of Vietnamese refugees and being raised by a single mother informs much of his service today. Sen. Nguyen is not afraid to have the difficult conversations needed in our community. It will be a treat to listen to him on this night. Make sure you get your tickets!

There will be plenty of food, beer and wine, a photo booth and great raffles packages.

We have 3 Raffles Packages

“WHAT’S GOOD WHITE CENTER” White Center Experience
“WHAT’S UP SEATTLE?” Seattle Events
“GET OUT” Travel Tickets for 2 (two)

Venue:

Metropolist
2931 1st Ave S

6 pm September 20th – get your ticket(s) here.

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COMMUNITY GIVING: North Shorewood Park cleanup

September 14th, 2019 at 7:00 pm Posted in Parks, White Center news | Comments Off on COMMUNITY GIVING: North Shorewood Park cleanup

Thanks to Gill Loring for the photos and report from today’s volunteer event at North Shorewood Park.

Great turnout of hard workers from north Seattle to Kent. Got a bunch of needed work done clearing around and protecting current native plants as well as trees planted several years ago. Had one great family who frequents the Park help out including the one in the stroller!

Watch for word of your next chance to help!

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